Salon des Refusés

April 1 – July 2, 2022

Welcome to the Salon des Refusés, a show for everyone!

We are excited to have this exhibit to bring artists from coast to coast to the heart of America.

Artists may enter only one work of art that MUST have been entered in a juried exhibit or competition, (within the last two years), and been rejected!

The exhibit will be displayed “Salon-Style”. In other words, hundreds of works will hang from floor to ceiling! This will allow us to accept nearly all works entered. Our goal is to accept everything entered, however, the museum will reserve the right to reject works for whatever reason, i.e., pornographic, etc.

Must be 18 or older.

We want to see everything in any medium, sculpture included!

Work entered may not exceed 36″ in any direction, with the exception of sculptures not requiring wall space.

Cash Prizes for Best of Show, 2nd, and 3rd Place, with at least 3 Honorable Mentions.

This exhibit will be judged by the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art’s Executive Director, David Hummer.

This is a chance to have your work exhibited in a museum!!! 


Call Opens January 1, 2021

Call Expires at midnight February 26, 2022 

Notification of Acceptance on or before March 4, 2022

Reception for Artists on Friday, April 1 from 6-8 pm.

All accepted works must arrive at the WMOCA by the end of the business day March 25, 2022

Entry fee of $50.00 USD.

Artists are responsible for the shipping to and from the museum.

Competition Guidelines and Submission Form

The origins of this exhibit…

In French painting, the term “Salon des Refusés” refers to an art exhibition held in Paris, in 1863, to show paintings that had been rejected by the selection committee of the “Paris Salon” – the official annual showcase of French art. (Note: the French Academy remained the organizers of the annual Salon exhibition, artworks for which were approved or rejected by a jury or committee of reputable, usually conservative, artists, typically drawn from members of the Academy. Since the Academy was the traditional champion of the orthodox style of painting and sculpture known as “Academic Art” – the majority of the jury tended to vote against any artwork which was in the least bit unconventional. Both subject matter and style were judged by the selection jury. Subjects were ranked according to an official Hierarchy of Genres, and lower ranked genres were regarded less favorably. Please see also: Painting Genres. In terms of style, the Academy expected idealized, true-to-life realist painting with all traces of brushwork erased leaving a polished finish. A rejected painting might be very bad news for an artist, since the Salon show provided the only opportunity in the French arts calendar for him to display his works to art collectors and dealers, as well as art critics and writers.

Exhibition of Rejected Art (1863)

In 1863, so many paintings had been rejected by the Salon selection jury (fewer than 2,218 pictures out of a total of over 5,000 were accepted) and so many artists protested, that Emperor Napoleon III, (ever sensitive to public opinion), ordered a new exhibition to be organized – dubbed the “Salon des Refusés” (Exhibition of Rejected Art) – in order to display all the paintings and sculptures that had been refused admission to the Salon, so as to allow the public to judge the merits of these works for themselves.

The exhibition program for the Salon des Refusés lists 780 works by 64 sculptors and 366 painters, along with a small number of printmakers and architects. Famous painters whose works were shown, included: Edouard Manet (1832-83), Gustave Courbet (1819-77), Paul Cezanne (1839-1906), Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), Johan Jongkind (1819-1891), James Whistler (1834-1903) and Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904).

Why was the Salon des Refusés So Important?

Three reasons. (1) Because it undermined the infallibility of the French Academy and, by implication, Academic art across Europe. (2) Because it highlighted the need for alternative “unofficial” exhibitions, to prevent highly conservative academic bodies from dominating both aesthetics and public taste in art. (3) Because, to a great extent, it legitimized the newly emerging forms of avant-garde art, and paved the way for the even more shocking style of “Impressionism”, which its exponents unleashed on Paris in 1874, in a series of independently organized exhibitions (1874-84).

Competition Guidelines and Submission Form